A top Democratic priority wouldn't advance if Marc Molinaro is elected New York governor.
Molinaro, the Republicans' gubernatorial nominee, vowed on Wednesday to veto legislation that would establish a single-payer health care system in New York.
The bill, the New York Health Act, would create the universal health care system and fund it with tax increases on businesses and high income earners. Estimates have suggested that the state would need $90 billion annually to fund the single-payer system.
The Democratic-led state Assembly has passed the legislation in each of the last four years, but it hasn't been considered by the Republican-controlled state Senate.
Molinaro believes that if the Democrats regain control of the state Senate, the New York Health Act would be approved by both houses of the state Legislature. The governor — whether it's him, incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo or Democratic primary challenger Cynthia Nixon — would have the final say on whether the measure becomes law.
"(Cuomo) is hurling our state toward an $18 billion deficit, has wasted billions on economic development schemes that haven't produced jobs, abandoned millions of individuals who rely on mass transit and New York taxpayers can't afford a $90 billion annual tax increase," Molinaro said in a statement.
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Molinaro's public declaration followed Nixon's announcement Tuesday that she would sign the New York Health Act if she's elected governor. She is challenging Cuomo for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.
Nixon released a video explaining why she supports establishing a single-payer health care system in New York.
"We shouldn't have to depend on our employers for insurance — and we certainly shouldn't have to lie to our doctors to get the care we need," she said. "Health care should be a human right, not a privilege for those who can afford it."
When asked about the New York Health Act last year, Cuomo said it's a "very exciting possibility." He also expressed support for establishing a federal Medicare-for-all system.
Molinaro, though, wants a more firm answer from Cuomo on whether he would sign the New York Health Act into law.
"He needs to let New Yorkers know now whether he's in favor of a state government takeover of health care or not," Molinaro said.